Horizon girls pummel Mitchell/Spray, Ione

HORIZON’S Haley Becnel, Kaitlin Wenz, and Jasmine Stevens (left to right in white jerseys) mob Ione’s Sydney Qualls in a game Saturday in Hood River. The Hawks won handily, defeating the Cardinals 72-20.

There’s no doubt that the Horizon Christian High Hawks girls basketball team is a Big Sky Conference title contender this year and they continued their remarkable success by winning two weekend games. The Hawks (10-5, 4-1 Big Sky) are on a roll, with wins in eight of their last nine games. Horizon, guided by Coach Brian Stevens, steamrolled the Mitchell/Spray Loggers 70-17 Friday and then followed with another easy 72-20 blowout win at home over the winless Ione Cardinals (0-14, 0-6) Saturday.

“I’m surprised about what we’ve accomplished so far this year and I don’t think anyone has expected us to be where we’re at right now,” said Stevens. “Even when I have the girls slow things down sometimes on offense, they still get wide open layups and good jump shots. We have a variation of four different defensive schemes that we use and the girls played very well recently and they’ve certainly had a lot of fun in these last two games.”

Horizon played a pivotal road matchup Tuesday in Maupin against the South Wasco County Redsides (results unavailable at press time). Horizon’s next contest is 6 p.m. Friday at Condon Wheeler (7-7, 4-1), followed by a 4 p.m. home game Saturday against the Sherman Huskies (4-11, 2-5).

Horizon had a quick start against Mitchell/Spray and had seven steals in the first four minutes and utilized a full-court press in the first half to build a dominating 32-10 halftime advantage. Horizon played strong man-to-man half-court defense in the second half, holding the Loggers to just seven points. The Hawks maintained their momentum in the second half and scored 38 points for the easy victory.

Sophomore Katie Wenz had a career-high 31 points and had 10 rebounds. Senior Jodee Hicks had eight points and 12 rebounds. Junior Paulina Finn had 16 points, 11 rebounds, six steals and five blocked shots.

“We’ve come a long way in the last few years and it’s exciting to see how much we’ve improved,” said Hicks. “It feels amazing to be a top team, because we’ve been working so hard all year for this. We’ve finally reached that point where we’re a strong team that everyone is afraid of playing. I believe that we can accomplish our goal of reaching the state playoffs this year.”

Horizon had a nearly duplicate performance with an overpowering victory over Ione. Led by Finn, who had a triple double with 26 points, 14 rebounds and 12 steals, Horizon jumped in front 27-3 over Ione after one quarter. Horizon, which has the second-best offense in 1A (53.3 points per game) continued its offensive rhythm and built a 38-12 halftime lead.

“I’m not surprised about how much we’re scoring, because we usually slow things down late in the game and we’re capable of scoring even more,” said Finn. “It’s exciting to see that we’ve become one of the stronger teams in our league. We’re hoping to go to the district tournament next month in Madras and win the district championship.”

Hicks, who scored a season-high 18 points, hit a jumper in the lane to extend Horizon’s lead to 42-12 in the third. Horizon overwhelmed Ione in the third, outscoring the Cardinals 22-1 to take a 60-13 lead. Horizon’s 72 points marked the third time the Hawks scored 70 or more in a game this year. Horizon is one of just five 1A teams that has scored 70 or more points in a game.

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